A moral framework based on principles of beneficence and respect for persons requires shared decision-making. In the best interest of critically ill children, parents should be the primary decisionmakers in collaboration with health care professionals. When parents are unable to function in their proper role as surrogate, health care professionals must seek an alternative surrogate decisionmaker. A balanced partnership between parents and professionals can be supported by attention to the environmental stressors, enhanced communication, networks of support and institutional mechanisms for conflict resolution.

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